Popular questions about navigational systems today seem centered on what’s the best kind or whether or not it’s illegal to use them. We forget that sometimes they can be a huge distraction for drivers on the road, especially ones that don’t quite understand the full extend of the program. Besides which celebrity voices you can download to give you directions, there should be more attention focused on how to safely use your GPS while driving.
Navigational systems are super helpful, and they prevent hours of frustration from getting lost or feeling helpless in areas you’ve never been to. The arguments between man, woman and asking for directions have been drastically reduced, and you’re far less likely to star in your own real-life version of a horror flick due to veering off track. Systems like Waze can even tell us where cops are or how to avoid road kill, so many people are using them even when they’re on their regular trips to and from work. However, they also present us with challenges in trying to keep up with quickly changing commands, satellite rerouting and heaven forbid the location changes mid-drive. We ask Siri or another type of voice software for help and half the time the software can’t make out the words, can’t find the name of the location or just plain tries to send you somewhere completely wrong. We know that when these things come up, we should pull over to be safe, but reality is not always about doing the right thing.
Distracted driving leads to accidents, but we’re human. It’s not possible to be 100% focused on the road at all time. To get closer to perfect though, it can be as simple as taking just a few seconds to become more aware of your actions on the road. We make stupid mistakes when our habits have become too thoughtless. For example, it may become automatic for you to text friends when we’re on the freeway. You’re probably not willfully ignoring the danger, because you’re simply not thinking at all. Even the threat of getting a ticket doesn’t always stop us from being careless.
Making an effort to check and double check your address before inputting it into your GPS, looking over the general course before you even start the car and familiarizing yourself with the parking situation prior to leaving can really made a difference. It can significantly reduce how many times you’ll be tempted to reach for your phone to input or adjust your settings. If you miss your exit because of quickly changing directions (e.g., turn left and then another quick right), then just continue along until it reroutes you. If you lose signal altogether, then pull over someplace safe and check your map. Your phone should still have the map saved on the screen, even when you can’t get voice commands due to loss of signal. You’ll lose some time, and that’s ok. It’s always better to get to your destination in one piece.
You may think you don’t need someone to tell you this, but we all need someone to tell us this. It’s just our nature to take mental shortcuts when it comes to driving. Unfortunately, distracted driving accounts for about 40% of our accidents. That number is just out of control when you think of how easy it should be to just do a little mental pep talk before getting in the car. Your GPS is not the only thing that may distract you, but it’s certainly an integral part of getting to where you want to be.
A traffic school can really be of service in helping you become more aware on the road. If you’re received a ticket for texting or otherwise distracted driving, a course can reduce the points on your license and prevent you from getting another one. Some insurance companies will even give discounts for drivers who voluntarily take these types of classes. You already know how important it is to pay attention to the road while driving, but sometimes a reminder or two can be all you need to make you and everyone else on the road have a safer ride.